The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, spoke on the Venezuelan crisis at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council, and called attention to the systemic human rights violations taking place under the Maduro regime.
During his speech, al-Hussein said that his office had received reports suggesting that Maduro regime officials have committed “hundreds of extra-judicial killings in recent years”, and that he was “deeply disturbed” by the ongoing exodus of Venezuelans out of the country.
As a result of the situation on the ground, al-Hussein said:
I encourage the Council to consider mandating a Commission of Inquiry to investigate human rights violations in Venezuela.
The Commissioner also issued his strongest denunciation of the situation in Venezuela, saying that he believes that there is the “possibility that crimes against humanity have been committed” by regime officials. al-Hussein said:
Freedom of expression, opinion, association and peaceful assembly are being repressed and severely restricted.
Caracas was quick to respond to the commissioners’ comments, saying in a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that his words were “interventionist”.
Eight Students Arrested During Protest in Nueva Esparta
Eight students were arrested today during an anti-government protest at the campus of the Universidad del Oriente in Nueva Esparta state. According to El Nacional, three of the detained are underage.
While the protest began in the vicinity of the university, repression from National Guard officers forced as many as 50 students to take refuge on campus. At least six people were injured when the soldiers responded to the protest with tear gas and rubber pellets.
Below, two images from the protest. In the image on the left, a cloud of tear gas can be seen in the background, while the image on the right shows spent ammunition:
The images below show a group of students and National Guard soldiers facing off:
Correo del Caroni: 100+ Dead In San Felix Hospital Due To Medicine Shortages
The Correo del Caroni reported yesterday that “more than 100 patients” have died at the Hospital Dr. Raul Leoni in San Felix, Bolivar state since the start of the year. According to the newspaper, the patients died as a direct result of shortages of medicine and medical equipment.
The hospital–which has been forced to cut its operations since January due to shortages–has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks from the regime’s political police, the SEBIN, after its staff denounced that fact that six newborns died in the hospital on February 14 during a power outage at the hospital.
Luis Valera, a surgeon at the hospital, said that the fatalities occurred at the hospital’s emergency wing, and were due to:
… causes attributed to a lack of medical material.
Valera explained that in particular, the hospital lacks antibiotics, operating space, as well as laboratory and blood transfusion equipment.
Despite repeated claims to local and national authorities dating back to May of last year, the pleas from the doctors at the hospital have gone unanswered.
Colombia Will Close Border With Venezuela March 8-11
The government of Colombia announced today that it would close its land border with Venezuela from March 8 to 11 as part of a security initiative ahead of parliamentary elections in the country scheduled to take place on Sunday. The announcement was made by the Minister of the Interior Guillermo Rivera during a telephone call to Union Radio.
Venezuelan migration into Colombia is fueled by the country’s collapse, and sees as many as 30,000 Venezuelans crossing the border each day in search of respite from misery and hunger at home.
UN Food Chief Calls Venezuelan Situation “Catastrophic”
David Beasley, the head of the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP), spoke at a colloquium in Madrid today where he called the ongoing food crisis in Venezuela “catastrophic”, and that the organization was doing everything possible to help in spite of the “delicate situation” in the country.
Beasley explained that while WFP cannot deploy its resources to Venezuela given the regime’s unwillingness to allow humanitarian aid in the country, the organization was exploring the possibility to provide aid to Colombia so that it may better accommodate the recent influx of Venezuelan migrants. To this end, Beasley said that he would travel to Colombia to help cement a response, and that WFP representatives have already been in communication with Colombian officials on the matter.
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